April 1, 1998
Ms. Nancy B. Chase
Superintendent of Schools
Hoosick Falls Central School
P.O. Box 192
Hoosick Falls, NY 12090
The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to issue advisory
opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the information
presented in your correspondence.
Dear Ms. Chase:
As you are aware, I have received your letter of March 18, which pertains
to certification of the correctness of a record made available under the Freedom
of Information Law.
Attached to your letter is a request by a member of the public that you, by
means of a notarized signature, certify the "authenticity, factuality, and accuracy"
of certain records made available to that person.
In this regard, §89(3) of the Freedom of Information Law states in
relevant part that, in response to a request for a record, "the entity shall provide a
copy of such record and certify to the correctness of such copy if so requested..."
From my perspective, the certification required by the Freedom of Information
Law does not involve an assertion that the contents of a record are accurate, but
rather that a copy of a record made available in response to a request is a true
copy. In essence, the certification is supposed to signify that the applicant received
an actual copy of a record maintained by an agency, irrespective of the accuracy
or the "factuality" of the contents of the record. Further, there is no requirement
in the law that the signature of the person who certifies that a copy of a record is
a true copy be notarized.
I hope that I have been of assistance.
Robert J. Freeman